Year 9 English Curriculum Overview

In year 9, we follow a thematically linked curriculum, ensuring that essential reading and writing skills are acquired, practised and deepened. The curriculum shadows that of year 10, to ensure that students are fully prepared for the challenges of their GCSE courses in English Language and English Literature.

English Literature

During our first term, we study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; students are taught to explore characters, themes and dramatic conventions, analysing the play’s language and structure in detail. We then move on to a detailed study of two poems from AQA’s Power and Conflict Anthology for GCSE. We carry out critical reading of prose texts and poetry from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, thematically linked by the idea of Journeys with Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, or a similar text, depending on the needs of particular students.

We learn to compose complex analytical essays and to respond to texts in a way that is personal and perceptive.

Further information about the AQA GCSE in English Literature may be found here (8702).

English Language

In our second term, we broaden and deepen our understanding of poetry, both from the AQA Anthology and through exploring how to approach the analysis of an unseen poem. We make comparisons between poems, exploring language, structure, themes and so on.

We then move on to an exploration of the Death Penalty, reading a wide variety of non-fiction relating to this issue and representing a range of viewpoints. We then formulate our own viewpoints, based on a very wide range of evidence, before composing our own responses in a variety of written forms. We will also have a clear, explicit focus on students’ spelling, punctuation and grammar during this unit, although skills in these areas are constantly revisited and reinforced.

Finally, we move on to a study of modern drama in the form of Dennis Kelly’s DNA and short prose from AQA’s Telling Tales Anthology. We apply our knowledge of what makes great writing to our own creative work and continue to revise our skills of analysis applied to unseen poems.

Further information about AQA’s GCSE in English Language may be found here (8700)


We ensure that challenge is appropriate and support is focused and timely through constant monitoring of students’ progress through their performance in lessons and through their written work. More formal, summative assessment is carried out at the end of each term, where the development of students’ reading and writing skills is assessed through tests carried out under exam conditions.

Summative assessments are always relevant sections of GCSE papers for English Literature or English Language, marked using criteria issued by the examinations boards. This information is then used to ensure that we plan appropriately for each individual student in our care.


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